Numbers Tell a Sad Story in Major North Carolina City
Reports from North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, show mixed progress for victims of crime. While the positive news shows overall crime for 2017 is going down, sadly the most violent crime – homicides – increased by a shocking 25 percent last year. Another alarming statistic showed 12 percent more rapes reported compared to the previous year.
Local law enforcement, when alerting the public to these startling numbers, shared that 90 percent of the rape victims knew their attackers, meaning they were domestic violence crimes.
These numbers serve as a disturbing reminder that North Carolina is not immune to crime – whether it’s domestic in nature, violent – urban or rural. North Carolina’s citizens are not sheltered from the toll crime leaves behind – physical or emotional. The 2017 numbers show that while communities can make strides in certain areas, something significant is occurring that has left – Charlotte in this case – reeling from the most vicious attacks leaving behind devastated families and communities.
The Marsy’s Law campaign will continue to bring the issue of victims’ rights to the forefront of public debate. Its mission is to ensure that victims of crime are afforded equal rights in state constitutions that don’t currently guarantee equal rights – like North Carolina. The state House recognized this need last April and passed an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote – House Bill 551 – that would send an amendment on behalf of victims’ rights to voters. It’s now pending in the Senate for consideration this spring.
For North Carolina, this is not an abstract, politically motivated issue, it’s one that is hitting our communities hard. As the numbers in Charlotte unfortunately show, the state is simply not doing enough to prioritize victims of crime. Marsy’s Law will not solve that gap, but it will go a long way in giving victims – the 25 percent more victims in Charlotte in 2017 – equal rights that are given to the accused. The state cannot bring back the victims of last year’s homicide spike or undue the domestic violence committed against these new victims, but it can help the process treat them with fairness – an important step forward.